The Stars My Destination
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The Stars My Destination

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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  20,466 ratings  ·  1,184 reviews
In this pulse-quickening novel, Alfred Bester imagines a future in which people "jaunte" a thousand miles with a single thought, where the rich barricade themselves in labyrinths and protect themselves with radioactive hit men - and where an inarticulate outcast is the most valuable and dangerous man alive. The Stars My Destination is a classic of technological prophecy an...more
Paperback, 258 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Vintage Books / SFBC (first published January 1st 1955)
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Terry
Gully Foyle is my name
Terra is my nation
Deep space is my dwelling place
The stars my destination

Sci-fi from its formative days is funny. Not funny ha-ha (not always anyway), but funny-weird…at least for me. I am often unable to get over the clunky writing and wispy plots despite the many cool ideas on display. Sometimes even a premise as cool as a galaxy-spanning empire held together by the prods and pokes of a few cognoscenti using an arcane sociological science still can’t make a plodding plot...more
Catie
I think that this book pretty much just blew my mind. I mean, am I crazy, or is this one of the most profound things ever written?

"You pigs, you. You goof like pigs, is all. You got the most in you and you use the least. You hear me, you? Got a million in you and spend pennies. Got a genius in you and think crazies. Got a heart in you and feel empties. All a you. Every you….”

Alright, you probably have to read the book to appreciate that, and you should! Can I entice you further by saying that an...more
mark monday
¡WOW BOB WOW!
GULLY FOYLE IS FAST AND FURIOUS!
A MADMAN OUT FOR VENGEANCE, LEFT FOR DEAD NOT ONCE - BUT TWICE!
HE IS HUMAN JUGGERNAUT, HE IS FORCE MAJEURE, HE IS BOTH ROCK AND HARD PLACE!
HE HURTLES THROUGH SPACE & TIME & MISADVENTURE, HE WEARS MANY FACES, A LOVER AND A RAPIST, THE MOST VIOLENT MAN IN THE ROOM, THE ANGRIEST BOY EVER, A HUMAN TIMEBOMB!
HIS FACIAL TATTOOS:
A TIGER, A TIGER!
BURNING BRIGHT!

THE ONLY GIRL FOR HIM - ANOTHER SOCIOPATH!
THE ONLY DESTINATION FOR HIM: THE STARS...more
RandomAnthony
Holy shit, The Stars My Destination is a revelation. How'd this novel get past me for so long?

I picture Alfred Bester as a mad scientist, surrounded by paper and typewriters, a cigarette dangling from his mouth, knocking this fucker out in the mid-50s. Bester writes likes he has to get all of his ideas out of his head RIGHT NOW, like they're going to explode if they stay in his brain too long. People who buy special diseases so they can go into the hospital and hang out with cute nurses? Neurol...more
Algernon

This was a golden age, a time of high adventure, rich living and hard dying ... but nobody thought so. This was a future of fortune and theft, pillage and rapine, culture and vice ... but nobody admitted it. This was an age of extremes, a fascinating century of freaks ... but nobody loved it.

Alfred Bester began his career with stories published in Thrilling Wonder Stories , Startling Stories , Astounding Science Fiction - names that have come to define that brief period known as the Golden...more
Paul
Oh I forgot to list this one! Wow - oversight city! (A city not found on any maps). God knows whether this is really a five star novel, but it was when I read it as a young teenybopper, and it bopped all over my teeny brain and imploded it into a zillion sparkly pieces which took many months to gradually meld back into a usable item again - I think that's why I did so poorly in my physics exam. It was called Tiger! Tiger! then, partly because Gully Foyle, the antiest of heroes, has a facial tige...more
Sandi
Jul 10, 2008 Sandi rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sandi by: Online Book Club Selection
Shelves: sci-fi, 2008
I have two thoughts on "The Stars My Destination" by Alfred Bester. One is that it really reads modern for a book written in 1956. The other is that it has some really antiquated ideas about the future.

First for the positive. For the first 200 of the 250 or so pages of the story, I couldn't stand the protagonist, Gulliver Foyle. However, he grows as a human being to the point that I ended up spending the last 50 pages cheering him on. Bester did an excellent job of taking Foyle from being almost...more
Adam
Aug 05, 2008 Adam rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who wonder what "classic" means
Fast and furious and blackly comedic similiar to early Vonnegut or Jack Vance mixed with the bitter surrealism of Finney's "Circus of Doctor Lao", this book predicted and influenced trends like the British New Wave,cyberpunk, and new space opera, but retains an oddball flavor of its own. Satirizing 50's anxieties like the red scare and the threat of nuclear annihilation(and unhindered corporate greed and warmongering)and featuring a psychopathic protagonist(loose in world that makes him look lik...more
Stephen
5.0 stars. A superb, SF novel that deserves the title of Classic. A pure adrenaline rush from start to finish with an excellent main character.
Bill
when i was much younger, in my teens and early to mid twenties, i read a lot of sf.it was fun, it was exciting and full of adventure. then when i got into my later twenties, i pretty much lost interest. i'd read a lot of the classic stuff, a lot of the authors i liked were either retired or dead, and fantasy was taking over from science fiction with books about dragons and wizards and their ilk, and that really didn't turn me on.

so then, for close to 30 years, i read very little sf at all and i...more
Tfitoby
Who is Gully Foyle? The 25th Century Fighting Man!

I love my copy of this. That's the best part of this book. I'm left feeling letdown by the novel and hardly feel like bothering to tell you it was only OK in the enjoyment stakes. It might be one of the single greatest science fiction novels of all time but I just didn't think it was that much fun to read.

Gully Foyle exists in a permanent state of rage, desperate for revenge after being abandoned to die in space. His journey sees him grow from s...more
Felina
Gully Foyle is my name
And Terra is my nation.
Deep space is my dwelling place,
The stars my destination.


A man is a member of society first, and an individual second. You must go along with society, whether it chooses destruction or not.

Here's the break down:

Characterization - What a book of incredibly unlikable people. All the female characters are happy to be victims and while they are pretty badass in some regards are totally obsessed with love. Ummm...shut up. All the male characters are power...more
Apatt
I first read this book decades ago under the title of Tiger! Tiger! (British edition). I just reread it recently for the purposes of writing this review. Fortunately I have memory like a sieve so I enjoy this reread just as much as the first time.

The Stars My Destination is one of the few sf books that is included in almost every all-time best sf books I have ever seen, and I have seen many. If I see such a list without this book I will probably dismiss it.

The story is centered upon Gully (Gulli...more
Scott Sheaffer
Gully Foyle is my name
And Terra is my nation.
Deep space is my dwelling place,
The stars my destination.

Gully Foyle is one of the most memorable anti-heroes of science fiction I have ever read. He is an unpleasant but strangely fascinating character that lies, betrays, rapes and brutalizes his way towards seeking revenge. Foyle starts out as a grunting animal that only adopts more sophisticated techniques when brute force fails to be effective in achieving revenge. Two steps forward and one step b...more
Stuart
Plenty has been written about Alfred Bester’s classic SF novel The Stars My Destination (Tiger! Tiger! in the UK edition), so I won’t flog a dead horse by repeating the storyline. The main question is, does this classic hold up today, almost 70 years after initial publication? In short, hell yes, this book is fierce, cynical, lighting-paced, philosophical, darkly humorous, and frankly doesn’t feel dated at all. It’s more fun as cyberpunk than William Gibson, not as clever-clever as Iain M. Banks...more
Ethan
On a recent flight, I read the in-flight magazine and an article by Keith Ferrell on great science fiction literature. He laid out his criteria and then rank-ordered 15-16 essential works of science fiction. I had not read most of them, but based on reputation, I think it’s a decent list.

Number four jumped out to me: Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination. Ferrell called it, “Arguably the greatest science fiction adventure novel ever written.” I’ve heard about this book a few times over the ye...more
Steve
The Stars My Destination is probably the best (and least dated) of the sci-fi classics that I've read so far. Written in 1956, its influence must of been huge. Clockwork Orange (1962), Dune, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, were just a few of the lights that went off as I read about gutter talking, tiger tattoo faced Gully Foyle, and his mission of vengeance. And yet, with all of the novel's groundbreaking imaginative leaps, at heart it's a retelling of the The Count of Monte Cristo. But unlike t...more
Jason
Totally mind-blowing and unlike anything I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I can't offer any constructive criticism and can only say, "wow, just wow." Ok, a few more thoughts then:

I still can't believe this novel was written in 1956! There are some fairly risque subject matter, violence and profanity that Bester gets away with that must have been controversial for its time but I don't even know if this novel was popular when it was first published. I'm still trying to sort out my mishmash...more
Liam
Am I a bad person for only just thinking this book was just OK? It was written in the 50s and not having a good grasp of the development of science fiction I'm not sure what or if ideas in the book were groundbreaking or not. Maybe it was just over hyped (I read the SF Masterworks edition). I will say this, up until the last two chapters I wasn't too intrigued by the books premises. However the second to last chapter includes an interesting attempt at describing synthesia (the neurological condi...more
Lisa
Gully Foyle is my name
Terra is my nation
Deep space is my dwelling place
The stars my destination


Slightly hungover after attending back to back Christmas parties (I know, I know, it’s still early yet) I was stumbling around the flat looking for something to distract me while I waited for my boyfriend to return from a weekend away. Six hours later, after becoming so engrossed that I’d barely managed to grunt on his return, my tiny little mind had been blown.

Gully Foyle is nobody special. He’s almos...more
F.R.
Wow!

I appreciate I’m arriving ridiculously late to the party here, but like many before me I’m blown away by this superb slice of 1950’s science fiction. Ostensibly ‘The Stars My Destination’ tells of Gully Foyle’s quest for revenge against the ship which abandoned him in deep space, but this is (even with the Dumas references) much bigger than just a simple tale of hunting vengeance. In Foyle’s quest we get to see a whole society, one with a built-in caste system and a desire for profit – even...more
Vlad Vaslyn
This is the most entertaining Science Fiction/Adventure book I’ve read in a really long time. It was published in 1956, so it must be out-dated, right? Wrong! Like many of the sci-fi greats, Bester succeeds in creating a futuristic universe that exceeds our imaginations, even today.

In The Stars My Destination, the ability for most people to teleport short distances by thought alone has turned the societies of 2436 upside-down, a looming economic collapse has pitted the Outer Planets against the...more
Sachin
Jan 28, 2008 Sachin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
As SF availability in India is limited, i asked my wife to get few books from London. And this was one of them. She had to visit quite a few stores to find it. Half way through the book i was wondering if the effort she put in was worth it. Till half the book it was just a regular who done it to me or a revenge tale. At times well written and well paced, at times ordinary. But later part of the book made me change my opinion. Things start happening and story develops. But i also think that first...more
Kelly
From the back cover: “EDUCATION: NONE. SKILLS: NONE. MERITS: NONE. RECOMMENDATIONS: NONE” So reads Gully Foyle’s Merchant Marine card. But Gully has managed to survive for 170 days in the airless purgatory of deep space and to escape to Terra with a murderous grudge and a secret that could change the course of history…

The Stars My Destination is a classic of technological prophecy and timeless narrative enchantment by an acknowledged master of science fiction.


Marooned in deep space by the wreck...more
Chris
What on Earth did I just read? Or should I say space? How about the time-dilated multiverse? In sci-fi lingo you could best describe the hypotheticals in this book as the quadruple T: telepathy, teleportation, and time travel. In this day and age these would be classified under the paranormal, but they become quite normal in Bester’s future. If that isn’t enough fun for you then behold the other spectacular oddities that he serves up here: egghead stoics stripped of all senses, an insane blind g...more
Gabriel C.
Trigger warning.

This book has some heavyweights in its corner. If I recall correctly, Sam Delany recommended it in The Jewel-Hinged Jaw. Gaiman wrote the intro (which I'll read after I write this review). I guess I see some of what they saw here. There is a prefiguration of some of the schemae that would later become standard in the works of Gibson and Gaiman and Stephenson et al., things like the atmosphere of carnival, the antihero, the juxtaposition of high and low in a bubbling melting pot,...more
Rob
There were moments I did not believe that I would give it much more than a four star rating, and that that would be generous. But it comes together. There's a twist that I felt I should have seen, and didn't. There's some HoL -esque typographic trickery (though substantially less of it). There are tricks of language. I'm told that there are parallels aplenty to make this a science fictional re-telling of The Count of Monte Cristo , but I'll admit that I don't that book well enough to say one way...more
Zepp
I can easily align myself with readers who view this novel as a seminal transition between the Golden Age and the New Wave, but I can't quite swallow its iconic status, at least not as a transcendant work of ideas.
Clearly Bester is going for a new history of the future, and I love the rogue and revolver bravado, but his puzzler-subtlety-sinks-the-punchline formula is no more trenchant than an episode of Star Trek or Twilight Zone (I love both).
Which is not to say that I didn't relish this book...more
Nikki
I think I'm going to have to figure out what I think about this while writing the review. I've been reading both positive and negative reviews, and find myself terribly easily influenced on the subject. I mean, there's something to be said for the fact that the main character is completely unworthy of sympathy and horrible to try and identify with in any way, if that's one of your things (and it is one of mine). It certainly isn't hard SF, which isn't one of my things, but I can see why the lack...more
Mark
Interesting book, not only because of the story but because it was written before man had travelled to outer space so the author's notions of how it would work are entertaining.

Basically in the future everyone can teleport at will, with limitations. The changes this causes in society are explored by the author and create a strange but compelling alternate reality.

The story is fast-paced and rarely dull. The last several chapters are nice and heavy. The only reason I don't give it a higher review...more
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10992
American science fiction author, TV and radio scriptwriter, magazine editor and scripter for comic strips and comic books.

His novel The Demolished Man (1953) won the very first Hugo Award for best novel.
More about Alfred Bester...
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“Faith in faith' he answered himself. 'It isn't necessary to have something to believe in. It's only necessary to believe that somewhere there's something worthy of belief.” 134 likes
“You pigs, you. You rut like pigs, is all. You got the most in you, and you use the least. You hear me, you? Got a million in you and spend pennies. Got a genius in you and think crazies. Got a heart in you and feel empties. All a you. Every you...'

[...]

Take a war to make you spend. Take a jam to make you think. Take a challenge to make you great. Rest of the time you sit around lazy, you. Pigs, you! All right, God damn you! I challenge you, me. Die or live and be great. Blow yourselves to Christ gone or come and find me, Gully Foyle, and I make you men. I make you great. I give you the stars.”
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